State of the Incubator, 34ish weeks

Before I get into the boringish pregnancy rambling, how about some general life updates? April was quite lovely, with visits from both grandmas and gorgeous weather at least most of the time. There are flowers everywhere (peonies! lilac!) and all our various fruiting plants are now gearing up – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and cherries all in our yard. Granted, we are having a heat wave now, so it’s like 96 out and I would like to please be submerged in a pool, but you can’t win ‘em all. I just took over lawn mowing duties from Kevin (turns out it’s not that hard? And he is severely allergic to grass, so it’s kind of terrible that it took me this long to step up), and bizarrely I am kind of enjoying things like weeding the yard. I think it’s because having an 18 mo old limits our ability to go on adventures every weekend, so the backyard beckons.

I got to go visit some friends last weekend, as my last hurrah before being baby grounded, and it was predictably awesome. Except that, at the moment, I suck even more at sleeping in places that are not my bed, but it was worth it anyways. I think I picked up a cold at some point along the way, which is incredibly cruel at this point in the gestational process. A racking cough doesn’t mix well with decreased bladder control, is what I’m saying. Makes me feel even luckier that I somehow made it through my entire pregnancy with Eliza without so much as a sniffle. I mean, I am willing to take most of the good drugs, because science told me I could, and they aren’t even WORKING. Total BS.

In work news, I went through the whole interview dog and pony show for my promotion from post-doc to grown up scientist this week. It’s kind of a funny promotion, because I dropped from full time to 60%, effectively resulting in a reduced salary despite the promotion. Obviously I don’t have to work as much, but I still have the same amount of stuff to get done, just in less time. It’s definitely a good thing, and the timing of being part time is pretty excellent. And I have a lot of opportunities to get involved with additional projects in the future, so will likely end up being full time eventually. At which point I will finally make more money than my husband, which matters not a whit, except we joke about it a lot since he has “just” a masters and I have a PhD. One day, many years from now when we’ve been working longer, I want to calculate how long it took for us to equal out in terms of income (i.e. see how much my degree “cost” me in lost income). I know that’s silly and inaccurate as we work in different fields and have different goals, but it is still interesting to think/joke about.

Anyways, my current plan is to keep working full-ish time as I am able, until the baby comes. This will give me a little additional time off in the form of flex time, up to two weeks if I’m lucky. With Eliza, I didn’t have maternity leave. I could have used FMLA and taken some unpaid leave, but at the time decided not to, for work/financial reasons. I flexed two weeks in full (i.e. made up the time after the fact by working overtime), and used all my vacation and sick time to get another couple weeks of part time. It wasn’t terrible, but I do think it contributed to some of the emotional upheaval and likely made breastfeeding even harder than it would have been otherwise.

This time, I’ll be able to take two weeks off with 100% pay (though one of those weeks is sick/vacation), then another 4ish weeks at 60% pay, and I may have those two weeks of flex time as well. The nature of my job is such that it is unlikely I’ll be completely disengaged from work, but I definitely intend to be home longer this time around. I’m still kind of appalled at how crappy the maternity leave set up is here – it’s better than the nothing I got as a post-doc (which, don’t get me started on how post-docs are usually during women’s late 20s-early 30s, and many have chosen to put off having kids until they have “real” jobs, and ahhhh grumble grumble), but still not good. And what’s even worse is it is way better than what many American women get, etc.

Ok that was a lot of general rambling. Moving right along to baby junk (as if that weren’t all baby junk):

Baby’s Size: I had an ultrasounds at 32 weeks, at which point baby was hovering around 55% for, um, size (height? weight? I don’t know, dude), and 10% for head size. Trying not to fret about that bit, as Eliza was proportional and we all know that if anything deviates from the first pancake, it is obviously going to be the END OF THE WORLD. (I know, I’m being absurd.) Anyways, baby apps say Spatwola is something like 4.75-5.5 lbs of increasingly chubby baby.

Sleep: Continues to be a challenge. Doctor O said I can start take up two four benadryl on top of my nightly unisom, so I’ve been taking 1-2 as I deem necessary and that has been helping (I don’t want to take all four before I have to, because I have SIX WEEKS of this left). But, IF I go to bed between 8 and 9pm, and IF I do not allow myself to read really interesting books after dinner (seriously, Eleanor & Park was too good), and IF I am lucky, it has been ok. I still get semi-hysterical every few days or so, just from being overly tired, but I feel like I know WHY and that makes it a little easier to deal with. Also, Kevin knows why, so he can make me take an emergency nap.

Food: At the moment, all I want is watermelon and corn on the cob, but I think that is a ‘today’ thing and not necessarily a hallmark of this week or stage or etc.

Movement: Oh my goodness, this kiddo can MOVE. Last time, I think I had a fully anterior placenta to give me some extra padding, and this time it is fully posterior. It is actually quite like those bizarro [fake] pictures, where you can see the hand pressing out. Ok, you can’t see that it’s a hand, but you can be damn sure it’s a hand or a foot and you can FEEL it so acutely (you being me, or any person who happens to be touching my stomach at the right time) and it is crazy. And also uncomfortable, but usually not painful, per se. This kiddo also likes to get up in my ribcage, which Eliza didn’t ever do. Basically, s/he is alllll over the place. Most active in the evenings, but today especially it’s just been an all day party. Also, I continue being able to feel big strong movements even when I’m bouncing around, jogging or something. That’s supposed to lull the fetus to sleep! Seriously, they tell you that you can tell if you are exercising too strenuously if you don’t feel the baby start moving 30 min after you stop whatever it is. I can feel the baby WHILE I AM RUNNING. So I guess running is fine.

Exercise: Well except I have been walking vigorously instead of running for the past two weeks, and this week I have a terrible cold so haven’t done anything. Switched from running because my calves hurt so much, of all things (probably they are confused as to why the rest of me weighs so much?), and also because I noticed that walking quickly on the rolling hills setting was basically equivalent to running slowly on mostly flat setting, and I figure it’s probably better for my glutes. Still doing weights etc., whee, ok.

Naming the kid: We still have our top three for each (Sawyer got booted from the boy list). I guess we should maybe come up with some possible middle names? Hmm.


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2 Responses to State of the Incubator, 34ish weeks

  1. Erica says:

    Ugh, being sick is never fun but while pregnant? Awful. I feel for you. It’s great that you are doing weights, wish I was. I was similar to you with work when Anna was born. I didn’t really have leave. I started working a bit after only a week or so. It did make things harder. I think the hardest thing was being cooped up in the apartment even more than I would have without working. I’m interested to see how this time will be different. You look great!

  2. K says:

    Having to be so strategic about maternity leave is a load of poo.

    Also, I kind of feel like you just told us you were pregnant. Are you gestating super duper fast?

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